Negotiate with Glove

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I’ve had a few ‘run-ins’ with Rachel Stevens. The first was when I was doing work experience at a radio company in 2003. She was doing a series of ISDN (high tech interviews) with radio stations around the country from a base in London. I looked after the desk and at one point had to run out to get her a takeaway chicken salad from Pizza Express. Next, I worked at a music promotions company who were doing the digital PR for ‘Come and Get It’. She came into the building to do interviews and signed me a couple of bits in including the above and a promo of the album which was sent out in a proper case and everything but with a black & pink sleeve. Finally, I reviewed her album for the BBC convincing them to make it album of the week across the BBC reviews system which made me very happy! It’s quite interesting to look back at writing from 4 years ago, which seems quite a bit more stilted than it is these days.

Anyway here’s the brilliant ‘Negotiate With Love’ that still sounds as bang on today as it did back then. It still irritiates me slightly that the lyric is ‘Whatever happened to me?’ rather than the much more heart tugging ‘Whatever happened to we?’.

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/rachel+stevens+negotiate/video/x2v4qh_rachel-stevens-negotiate-with-love_music[/dailymotion]

Kudos to the brilliant XO London and MuuMuse for putting one of my favourite albums back in mind and Adem with an E for writing about it.

Morecambe – Lancashire’s rock hotspot

Winner of week’s strangest press release goes to Juliette Lewis who has somehow been roped into performing as part of the Get Loud in Libraries campaign. Last time this happened I think it was Mr Hudson involved pre autotune days when he was called … & The Library. That kind of made sense. This time, they are sending Juliette to Morecambe Library.

For those non Lancashire people amongst you, I am not exaggerating when I say Morecambe is the bleakest place I’ve ever been. I quite like bleak places, I’m from Blackpool after all – but Morecambe takes it to a whole other level. There is no one there, everything is shut down and the only thing to do is stand next to a statue of Eric (not actually from) Morecambe.

I took my housemate as part of a Lancashire road trip last January. Here’s what it looks like – click the pics to go large for full depression. Picture 3 nearly made me cry.

Good Girls Go Bad

Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t want to be Blair Waldorf? Here’s Leighton’s first proper release as a pop star teaming up with Cobra Starship for ‘Good Girls Go Bad’. It’s been knocking about for quite a while but the video has just come out today – I’m slightly concerned that she doesn’t seem to have much rhythm but I’m hoping that’s a youtube sync issue!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpOdAfs8jr0[/youtube]

Love the xoxo text message!

Review: La Roux – La Roux

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Tipped in many polls at the start of 2009 as a contender for success, La Roux were possibly always thought of as the wild card in the bunch with many pitting the duo against the shinier Little Boots. Elly Jackson’s magnificent quiff of red hair, and high pitched, cutting tones certainly aren’t for everyone, but the retro styling of her and producer Ben Langmaid’s music has quickly burrowed its way into the hearts of the nation.

While the magnetic Quicksand was first to tantalise our earbuds on limited release last year, it was instead the almost unpleasant-to-listen-to In For The Kill that swept these competitors out of the water, positioned her as the year’s most exciting new talent and landed her a massive chart hit. That shrill vocal might mean the self titled debut album is not something you’re likely to listen to all in one go in a high pressure situation, but it’s one jam-packed with killer pop song after killer pop song.

The frantic Tigerlily is a good indication of what’s ahead, as a strange synth harpsichord eventually gives way to a starring role from Elly’s father in a Vincent Price-aping spooky spoken word interlude. With the whole album centered around the break up of a twisted love affair, Bulletproof, with its candy floss chorus, might initially sound happier, but as Elly snarls that she’s, ”been there, done that, messed around” proves anything but. That newly resolute persona continues strong with the minimal I’m Not Your Toy and the “early 90s decor” of Colourless Colour. While the pair might be denying a heavy 80s influence in interviews, their music is filied with allusions to the likes of Yazoo, Aneka and The Human League particularly on the euphoric chorus of monster tune Fascination and the delightfully bleak Reflections Are Protections.

Establishing themselves as one of our most exciting new pop acts, La Roux have mastered their debut. Never has something so tinny sounded so good.

Originally published at BBC Music.

VV Pumpkin

I’ve not really written much about faltering pop starlet VV Brown over here. I think I took against her from the start because she showed up 45 minutes late to an interview with my friend and didn’t apologise. I showed up 55 minutes late (UNINTENTIONALLY) for an interview with the bloody amazing Raygun a few weeks ago so I now feel less angry towards her. I like her hair, I think she’s gorgeous, I feel like she might chuck herself off a building though at any moment sometimes when reading her twitter which is a bit worrying, and I adore playing ‘Crying Blood’ each week at Popstarz. It’s a proper classic pop song that should have been a brilliant one hit wonder if nothing else. As oppose to most of the pop blogosphere I think ‘Shark in the Water’ is an nice, adequate song but hardly something to be screaming about.

Now I’m highly unlikely to start banging off promo blogs for commercial things, but as part of a perhaps blooming fashion career, VV has designed some ponchos for Orange for use at Glastonbury. The photos are amazing, mainly because she looks like a pumpkin. This is all I need to be amused. Actual proper info over here.

Singing For My Supper

Over the last 10 weeks i’ve been indulging in a bit of singing lesson action. I like Singstar a bit too much so James sent me on a group course at City Academy. It’s been quite fun, but our teacher has put together a really anti Talia set of songs. So he’s been making us sing Angels, Mr Brightside, Wonderwall, Blame It On the Boogie, Faith etc. Maybe it’s just because I am extremely overexposed to these songs but I was hoping for a bit of a mixture with some standards, bit of musical theatre etc rather than full on rock/pop else I would have picked the rock / pop course!

Also we have to sing over the CDs rather than with sheet music which is driving me slightly mental. This is probably bang on what the casual ‘beginner’ student wants for an after work course, but I think it’s rubbish because you can’t see how long the notes or meant to be or yadda yadda yadda. I probably need to find a little old lady with a piano.

Anyway the final two lessons have us doing our own choice of song. I only remembered this 20 minutes before the lesson started so went with Another Suitcase In Another Hall as I know all the words (obsessive listening in 1996) and No Doubt Don’t Speak which I’ve always wanted to sing but decided in the car was way too hard. Next week I can do Another Suitcase again but wondered if anyone had any suggestions for something more exciting?

I am secretly hoping someone goes mental and shows up with ‘Vision of Love’

Daisy Dares Your Face Off

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In an attempt to infiltrate every single bit of pop music out there, I am now adding the title of digital plugger to my wares. Together with my friend Jude, with whom I worked at digital agency Outside Line many moons ago touting McFly and the forgotten brilliance of the Love Bites (best launch party ever), I have set up XOXO promotions. Yes I am a mega gossip girl fan but I think the name also helps pass forward the idea that we love pop music and we want others too also. In any case, we better be considered for Leighton Meester’s forthcoming campaign. (n.b. our website is currently a holding page till it goes all fun & poppy!)

Setting up the company, Jude and I were keen, maybe in a fresh faced naive way, to only work on acts we actually love. I don’t want to run round telling people something is amazing when it’s blatantely not. I want to just carry on shouting about an amazing piece of pop I would do of my own accord. So to start us off in a brilliant way is new Jive signing Daisy Dares You. Daisy is scarily 15 and although I’ve not met her yet, I think I might feel like a bit of a granny with the mighty 12 years I have on her. She’s from Essex and makes fun, bouncy, DIY sounding pop music. Everything is in very early demo stages at the moment, I don’t even have snazzy photos to throw at people, but I’m very exciting to hear what she comes up with and be there from the start.

You can hear 4 demos on her myspace page – ‘No 1 Enemy’ is the one that first drew me in with it’s unexpected cameo from J2K. ‘Talk About The Weather’ is perfectly fitting her age as she tells the tale of meeting a boy she fancies over an increasingly manic piano riff, while ‘Next Few Minutes’ takes a darker approached juxtaposing cute sounding vocals with a menacing ‘tick tock’. Basically it is gagging for a Doctor / Rose bit of epic, heartbreak filled unofficial youtube action. Can someone make it happen?

Anyway to wet your appetite, here is a self titled track ‘Daisy Dares You’. It’s fun, it’s bouncy and the more I listen to it, the more I jump around the kitchen while cooking.

Download Daisy Dares You – Daisy Dares You [MP3]

Le Kid – Mercy Mercy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qw4BURBbfU[/youtube]

My google reader is so full up of blogs I want to read but I’ve been trying to move over to another RSS system so I make a conscious effort as I’m missing out on lots of amazing pop.

Le Kid is one such gem. Introduced by Don’t Stop The Pop, it’s one of those songs that your mates who used to go to Tenerife in the summer holidays would come back singing, and then it would go on to be a catchy UK chart botherer until gloomy November.

It’s very upbeat and pop and has elements of Can’t Speak French, Mambo No 5 and another song I can’t quit place. It’s the chorus though – can you get it? It’s written by some massive Swedish pop gurus and the video contains some fabulous ‘dry’ synchronized swimming. As Popjustice put it, it’s what would happen ‘If Alphabeat weren’t quite so obsessed with Shoreditch…’

‘Telephone’ over on their myspace is even better.

If He Were A Boy

Last night I went to see Beyonce live. I like Beyonce. I’m not mental on her, but I knew she’d be able to pull off a pretty good show.

OH MY GOD. I am not exaggerating when I say I might as well never go to a gig again. NOTHING is likely to beat last night. 35 songs, about 10 costume changes, flying, mad amazing dancing, an all female band, extravagant video bits. My favourite gig ever was Robbie at Knebworth but save the size of the queue to get out of the car park, it was nothing on Beyonce. And then there was this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS8vqgLTKvQ[/youtube]

When I was about 17/18 I was a massive George Michael fan. My best friend Joanne and I used to listen to Ladies and Gentlemen NON STOP at sixth form despite not actually knowing most of it when it came out. It soundtracked us learning to drive, doing our A Levels, everything. I saw him live a couple of years ago at the LIVE 25 tour but from right at the back of Wembley. This time we were realy close to the stage and it was the best surprise ever. Just before launching into ‘If I Were A Boy’, Beyonce did a little bit of the beautiful ‘One More Try’ which seemed really random and then a costume change later there he was. I seriously just stood open mouthed screaming for the entire song. Beyonce’s almost ‘Outside’ outfit was perfect, the video screens made them look like they were in a properly 80s video and this should so be re-released as a duet.

10/10